Arizona state Senator Lori Klein recently introduced a bill that would punish K-12 teachers for their use of profanity in the classroom. According to Fox News, Klein introduced the measure after a parent informed her that a teacher in their district had gone unpunished for using the F-word in his daughter’s class.
If the bill passes, a teacher who violates the obscenity and profanity guidelines, outlined by the Federal Communications Commission, three times would be subject to a week of suspension without pay. A teacher with five offenses would be fired.
According to the news station, Klein told the Senate committee that while she wishes this issue could be left in the hands of school boards, “she didn’t feel they were protecting ‘young, impressionable kids’ from offensive language.”
Kelly Parrish, an English teacher in Phoenix and a critic of the bill, pointed out that the restrictions could complicate matters for teachers when the curriculum they teach is not “G-rated,” or when classes discuss literature that contains racial slurs and other offensive language, such as To Kill A Mockingbird. “We’re supposed to be preparing them [i.e., students] for the next level,” said Parrish. “If we just put them in a bubble and protect them, I don’t think we’re doing a good job at making them ready for real-life situations by sugar-coating everything.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.